An X-ray is a type of diagnostic imaging technique that uses a small amount of electromagnetic radiation to view structures within the body. An X-ray machine produces radiation that passes through the body and is absorbed at different rates by the organs and structures. The denser the structure, the less radiation it will absorb and the lighter it will appear in the image, which is why bones look white on an X-ray image and organs and fluids such as blood look darker.
An X-ray is usually carried out in the radiology department within a hospital or at an imaging center by a radiographer or radiologic technician. A radiologist will review and interpret the image to diagnose injuries and investigate the cause of certain symptoms.
Some of the reasons why an X-ray would be requested are:
- Bone and teeth abnormalities, fractures, or breaks
- Joint problems such as osteoporosis
- Chest conditions such as pneumonia
- Detection of foreign objects